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Home > Opinion > Nick Rice

By Nick Rice | Published Sep 17, 2012

It’s not just athletes that deserve recognition

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Everyone has been flinging themselves on the Olympic bandwagon in the past several months. Some have been doing it for the past several years.

But now the games and even the London Team GB parade are over, I would never attempt do something as preposterous as compare Investment Adviser’s inaugural 100 Club Awards to the Olympics. Or would I?

Last Monday (August 10), five senior figures at discretionary fund managers gathered at the London headquarters of Investment Adviser’s parent company the Financial Times to judge the 20 awards and their 100 nominees – our RDR-ready 100 Club of top retail investment products and firms.

In an industry with plenty of underperformers, we should celebrate the outperformers more frequently.

Nick Rice

The only obstacle was the Team GB parade. One judge was delayed for more than half an hour in traffic. Another had to get out of a taxi several hundred metres from our offices and walk down the Thames to the FT’s offices.

In terms of the judging session, the only actual benefit of the parade was that we could break for tea mid-afternoon and watch the Red Arrows fly over.

With the exception of such forgettable logistical hassles, the Olympics and Team GB have been a match made in sporting and PR heaven.

If the UK’s fund management industry were to amass a Team GB for an investment Olympics – our 100 Club would provide some obvious contenders – it would receive little more than a millionth of the publicity. Given that billions have tuned into the games, this number is fairly close to the literal truth.

And yet fund managers are not only arguably similar to sportspeople – in that they compete with each other on readily quantifiable metrics. They also have a direct and continuous impact on the material resources of the UK population.

Millions of ordinary people have invested money with the members of the 100 Club – many of them under advice from our readers – who in turn will affect their personal wealth. The industry may not have been particularly good at explaining this. But the battle of the fund managers has a quantifiable impact on the UK – more than many media commentators acknowledge.

Of course, the real battle for investment returns occurs in conference rooms around the world, behind Bloomberg terminals and in weekly investment meetings. Awards merely reflect the outcome of this battle – they are not the Olympic contest in and of themselves. But although financial services have been scorned since the credit crunch, their impact – amplified by the crisis – remains undeniable.

In an industry with plenty of underperformers, we should celebrate the outperformers more frequently, not just with awards, but with events, articles, books, recommendations – even just a greater degree of respect.

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